A Good Story with Minor Imperfections
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there,” is a quote that’s oft misattributed to Lewis Carrol. The fact that there is ambiguity about who is behind this quote on ambiguity seems fitting. For our purposes today, the spirit of the quote is what we are after. We think it may help elucidate the strange and confusing world of fake money in which we all travel.
Consumer price index, y/y rate of change – the Fed is not satisfied with the speed at which monetary debasement raises everybody’s cost of living lately. And no, they don’t think said speed should be lowered. [PT]
For example, the monetary policy outlook immediately following last month’s FOMC meeting was as clear as a flawless (FL grade) diamond. The principal message, if you recall, was that inflation was muted and the Fed, after suffering an overt beating from President Trump, would soon be shaving basis points off the federal funds rate. You could darn near take it to the bank.
Wall Street took the news and acted upon it with conviction. Investors piled into stocks and bonds without pausing to take a closer look for imperfections. Why worry when fortune favors the bold?
From June 19 through Wednesday July 3, everything held up according to plan. The S&P 500 rallied 2.5 percent to close at a new all-time high of 2,995. The yield on the 10-Year Treasury note, over this period, dropped 13 basis points, as mindless buyers positioned to front run the Fed.
But then, in the form of Friday’s job’s report, several feathers of imperfection were identified. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 224,000 jobs in June. This far exceeded the consensus estimates of 160,000 new jobs. As this week began, doubt and hesitation crept into the market. What to make of it?
Powell Stays on Point
To begin, in today’s fake money world, clear thinking and honest appraisal are handicaps for investors. What is really important is the inverse relationship between the economy and the stock market. Good economic reports are bad for stocks. Conversely, bad economic reports are good for stocks.
S&P 500 Index performance vs. US macroeconomic data surprises – this is the biggest disconnect ever observed. [PT]
According to the prevailing logic, with unemployment below 4 percent, real GDP growth at an annual rate of 3.1 percent, and stocks at all-time highs, the Fed shouldn’t be cutting rates. Instead, it should be raising rates. But if the Fed raises rates, there will be less cheap credit to speculate on stocks with. Therefore, stocks will go down.
So how can the Fed possibly cut rates later this month when the economy’s headline numbers appear so doggone good? This question, and many others, greeted Fed Chairman Jay Powell this week during his two-day semiannual testimony on monetary policy to the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee.
Powell – that is, the post pivot dovish Powell – stayed …read more
Source:: Acting Man